Artist Jodee Knowles in front of her mural.

“My Torment” from Jodee’s latest series.


A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to get invited to the upcoming opening night at the Friends of Leon Gallery in Sydney’s Surry Hills. The opening event is for Perth based artist Jodee Knowles’ first ever solo show. Being ferociously curious by nature, I checked out Jodee’s website and I was instantly taken by her work.

Jodee is considered to be one of the hottest emerging artists in Australia today, having exhibited all over the world. At one of her recent sellout shows in LA, Pink bought a few pieces from her collection. Knowles’ latest collection, “In the world of things without weight”, explores the themes of mood and money. The space at Friends of Leon Gallery will be transformed a week prior to the exhibition. Jodee will spend a week painting the gallery walls, and these walls will become the surface which will showcase her ten selected new works.

Opening Night 25th February, 6-8pm
Exhibition runs until 18th March
Friends of Leon Gallery
82 Marlborough Street, Surry Hills

If you are coming to the opening night, make sure to come and say hi. And if you are not, keep your eye out for more of Jodee’s art, as I have no doubt that the best is yet to come for her.

I am so happy to be able to share with you an interview with a very cool and talented chick. Enter Jodee Knowles.

x dana


“The Moment” from Jodee’s latest collection.


Tell me a little about your background – when did you first decide what you wanted to do and what path led you to what you’re doing now?

When I left high school I went studying almost immediately into the arts. The most rewarding and motivating thing about this was the people I met, this was one of the main reasons I fell into this industry and have come as far as I have – thanks to the people that surround me.

You seem to have a fascination with people – their mannerisms, emotions and expressions. Your figures almost always look melancholic. Can you describe what you are seeking to portray in your work? How do you describe your art?

My art represents my own existence, where extreme experiences, fear and obsession collide. I am always hungry for emotional experience and am addicted to the chaotic environment of them. Each work represents and displays my connection with individuals who are involved in my life emotionally, and whose existence causes me to constantly question my own

Last couple of years were huge for you Jodee. Can you share with us some of the major highlights? (And I would love to hear more about Pink – what was it like meeting her?)

Yes 2008 and 2009 showed a massive shift in my works potential. My first big show was a group show in LA that Stormie curated and asked me to attend. On opening night I sold 80% of my work, Pink being one of the buyers. I have since exhibited in cult Gallery 1988 on Melrose Ave in LA, which saw me really get recognized over there. I’m thrilled to be working with this gallery and shipping new works over. For the last part of 2009 I have dedicated myself to the upcoming solo show and have stopped all small group shows and murals to focus. It has been the best experience yet. Completing a series of work that means something to me and flows I feel.

“Death is Blue” from Jodee’s latest collection.


What does a typical day involve for you? How do you work – can you give us an insight into your process?

I check my emails in the morning and reply to all that I can, I will send media contacts out and follow up previous emails; networking is a big part of my art practice. Then I catch a bus into the city where my studio is – it’s beautiful, a big run down ballroom on the second floor. I then photograph models or work on pieces I have started. I stay late and then head home, it can be a struggle and every day is NOT successful, which brings doubt and confusion, so it’s a real mental challenge as well as physical.

Creative people often find it really difficult to network and promote themselves – how do you approach this side of your work?

I love it; I really think it’s almost 50-50. There are so many artists in the world and so many that are more talented than I, but to advertise who you are and promote your most private feelings and thoughts is really intense. I enjoy doing this as I know people will relate and love my work, but if no one know what I’m trying to do…it almost seems pointless.

What advice do you have for young artist who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting out?

Get involved in your art network in your city or town, and throw yourself into as many group shows and events as you can, let people know who you are and your ‘mission’ – then do some art.

What is the biggest frustration you encounter when creating your art?

If you don’t have a strong idea or you are not in the mood you can’t force yourself and that’s when I suffer from depression, confusion, I feel like I am failing, and falling and losing a day. Also, when people want something more from you, like a commission, I can only draw what comes naturally not someone else’s idea of my work.

Which artists and other creative people are you inspired by?

I try to avoid looking at other artist as falling into similar ideas and patterns is too easy. I look for inspiration within fashion and strong people in my life. In saying that I am a big fan of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.

What are you most proud of so far?

This solo show that I am doing right now, it is the most significant event in my life so far. Also, my large murals, they are intense and when I look back and acknowledge -‘I did that!’ it’s really rewarding.

What would be your dream project?

Working in collaboration with a high end fashion label, that’s my next mission. Someone like Comme des Garçons or Chanel. BIG.

What are you working on right now?

My first solo exhibition at Friends of Leon Gallery in Sydney.

What’s next – can you share with us your vision and some of your goals?

I am going to start a new series of work that is a continuation of this one. They are based on the passing of time and time as a man made idea.

Group graffiti project at Jodee’s studio – organised by Last Chance Studio.


Lets Get Personal.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Sleeping and reading and sleeping some more.

What are some of your favorite local galleries and shops {art supply, music, fashion, other bits and pieces etc}?

I’m from Perth, so my favorites are

BAR: Ezra Pound on Williams Lane

EAT: Cantina on Beaufort Street

GALLERIES: The Bakery on James Street

ART SUPPLY: Jacksons and Keith & Lottie

FASHION: Dilettante on Wellington Street

BOOKS: Planet Books in Mt Lawley

What is your most treasured belonging?

At the moment I have this gold locket with a glass front, inside is a mouse paw with a diamond ring on and red velvet background…I can’t stop looking at it. And my Akut artwork I purchased a few years back now.

What is the most unselfish thing you’ve ever done?

My new year’s resolution is to stop being so nice, it’s not really coming back! I am generally to caring and helpful… I’d rather not as I need to start doing stuff for myself. So this is the most selfish thing I’ve ever tried to do.

What makes you laugh?

Will Ferrell and Arrested Development… funny shit. Also my partner, the funniest person I have ever met.

Jodee’s work from previous collections.

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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